Friday, May 8, 2015

2 minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO PLAY BUT DON'T IDENTIFY AS 'WRITERS' - all are welcome here! Every Friday, we do a fun free-write. For fun. And Freedom!

Write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

Cubicles are like cuticles; sometimes you gotta cut 'em. We got to think about the hive, see? This ain't about one individual bee - not about you or me. You gotta see it the right way - do you see what I mean? You and I are meaningless - it's all about the Queen. But don't take my word, I see your disbelief. Absurd! Look around you - do you see anyone else complaining? Anyone not smiling, yoke-choked. Straining.

Yeah, I know we're not bees. Bees are productive creatures. They make honey. We make money. But we're not making enough, and you know what makes it funny? Currency. Think about it. Currently, you aren't producing enough. Don't you know that the high ups need catered brunches? Do you think they care about the stomp-sound crunches? They're busy planning business lunches! 


Now, get on your knees and close your eyes. I want to show you some more things about bees. More things about hives.

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be out some of today (working, no computer) but, rest assured, I'll be reading everything and commenting as I have time, so check back. Post your pieces on your blogs, telephone poles, passing pedestrians, etc. if you like...it's a fun web o' writing.

#2minutesgo

133 comments:

  1. Powerful stuff, JD. I think we've all felt some measure of that. Love the rhythm, too.

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    1. JD! You're a poet. Or Burt Lancaster. One or the other. Loved it.

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    2. Love it. :D The rhythm, I can almost hear the buzz of the hive.

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    3. It's great. There's always that rhythm and odd rhymes here and there. Love the money and the bees. We're so beneath them.

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    4. Nancy DeCilio GauthierMay 8, 2015 at 2:31 PM

      Great homage to honey bees; especially now that they are on the verge of collapse, or so the scientists tell us.

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    5. Nice pace, good rhythm. internal, yet with a master;s power of observation.

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  2. Sigh... so true... and delivered in that trademarked MaderRap.

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  3. He could walk on his hands, legs high in the air, and demonstrate the ease of the move by singing Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly” while upside down. He could do several one-handed push-ups without popping a bead of sweat as if it were the easiest stunt in the world. It was no wonder the girls on Second Street flocked around him. Girls we called “sheep to the slaughter.” Harry broke their hearts.

    We all called him “The Sweet Man.” Because he was the model of kindness or someone the young neighborhood boys could emulate? Hardly. It was his name. Harry Sweetman from the projects. Harry Sweetman whose daytime antics entertained us all, including the Hassidic Jewish ladies who sat in their upper-story windows, plump arms on plump white pillows, laughing through wide-open toothless mouths, calling down to him, “Sveet Man, Sveet Man, mazel tov! More, more!”

    While he spent his days performing bright sidewalk vignettes, on his dark-drama nights, in true Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde extremes, he ran with the wolves, those leather-jacketed gangs who rolled drunks, beat up homeless old men, and under the black comforter of night worked their B & E crime sprees.

    Harry saw himself as a super hero. By day he was Sweet Man. By night the head honcho of the Atlantic Avenue Wolves. They still talk about him on the street, years after he killed a man, was arrested, found guilty, got life without parole.

    Old Mrs. Kaplan repeated more times than a few, “Dat boy should heff kept valkin’ on his hends!”

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    1. This is a great vignette.. and I can hear and see all the characters... well done!

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    2. Agreed. Awesome word portrait (is that a thing? I'm making it a thing!) There is so much spinning off in the periphery, too. Really well done flash.

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    3. haha, love that last line. It's like a book summarised - his life in small. I'd read his tale.

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  4. Between the land of enchantment and a Rocky Mountain high, there lies a valley of secrets, a place where storytellers are born and come to die. The keeper of the valley is not shaman, nor priest, nor angel, nor demon. He has no name.
    When a traveler chances upon the valley, the keeper leads him to the river of time and invites him to drink of the healing waters and to hold a sacred stone. Some believe it to be a talisman, a good luck charm. Indeed, many a fortune has been made after holding the smooth gray stone. For others, the stone feels alive, humming, vibrating, throbbing. For these, its gift is the ability to listen and to hear.
    But for a very few, the stone sings, songs of ages past, of yesterday, of the making of the universe. Its voice crystal clear resonates in the mind of the holder. These few are the storytellers, and they listen to the stories and shape them and mold them like clay, to be shared with others, but only their hands touch the stories before they harden and bake.
    Once in a millennia, the keeper grows weary, of the river of time, of the valley of secrets, of the stonesongs, and he quietly prays for someone to take his place. That visitor, he knows, will shatter the stone, find another, and the cycle of telling and told and luck both good and bad will begin anew. The keeper will rest.

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    1. I love when you write like this. I don't know what to call it. It's like magical realism on steroids. That first line? Epic. I love the concept, the execution - great piece.

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    2. Thank you... I dunno what to call it either... but I was excited to learn that Amazon has added a subcategory to fiction for magical realism... and that's one of the categories that my collection of flash fiction will be listed in... and there will be shout outs to you and this page for all your encouragement. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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    3. Love it: "stonesongs" And what JD said.

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    4. Whew! The entirely transmutable energy of EVERYTHING...Beautifully captured.

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  5. I can't breathe, and my skin's slick. My legs don't want to bear the weight. You sit in that big, tall chair and smile like that's gonna help. Like the flash of yellow teeth can ever set things right. I see wolf fangs. I smell stale blood and hear maggots feasting.

    I wake in the middle of the night in a panic of my own invention. I make things I can't control. Books, people, mistakes ...

    My eyes don't ever look right. They don't look left either. They look red and tired and they sit on thick, purple pillows - softer than the ones I can't sleep on. But I'll keep going, slick skin and all. I'll keep marching even though my feet hurt. And somehow, I will look deep enough and find something that will stay the tide for one more day.

    It's the only way.

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    1. Slick skin and thick skin... and I'm glad the narrator will take it for another day... in the end, the days add up. I also really, really like the phrase "Panic of my own invention." That speaks loudly and clearly to me today... thank you.

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    2. The eyes sitting on thick purple pillows is creepy - I imagined the eyes literally resting on pillows, like they'd been taken out and were just watching the world go by. 'I make things I can't control... people...' :)

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  6. Open your eyes and you’re on a river, a big one, and the water lazes along. You’re on an inner-tube, with patches of all colors and the smell of vulcanized rubber. The sun shines in your eyes, makes you think you’re going blind, and the heat of your skin comes from the light.
    Over there, on the bank, beneath the tree, your mother and father look so proud of you. They wave as their strong, brave son floats down the river. On the left, you see Thomas, the first man you loved. He looks sad somehow, though his lips are curled up in a smile. He waves, too.
    A willow, weeping, reaches its branches all the way to the sky, and you feel soft tendrils kissing your skin. You close your eyes for a moment, and when you open them again, you see it is winter, your bare skin turning grayish-blue and your teeth won’t stop chattering.
    Your boss, in a parka, is stomping toward you and you know he’s angry from his crimson face. He stomps onto the river ice and the ice cracks—no, melts—beneath him as he continues walking toward you. The river claims him, inch by inch, until he disappears.
    You hear the roar of the water, you don’t remember if this river has rapids or falls, but you know you should paddle to keep away from the roar, but your paddle won’t make a dent in the ice and the whole mass of ice is moving toward the roar. You want to get out of the rubber ring but your feet are frozen to it and you cannot get up.
    Night falls, still you hear the leonine roar of the river. You rest your eyes. When you awake, you’re on a river, you’re on a river, a big one, and the water lazes along. The river’s name is Despair.

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    1. Man, this one really gets me. You put me right in that inner tube. I love the dreamlike qualities. The closing line made me flinch a little. Which is a good thing.

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    2. I love all these images, one floating to the next. Right there with you. And yeah, that final punch. So good.

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    3. Yeah, very effective. I thought he was dead and seeing all these people and places from his past - river of life and all that, esp when the evil boss cometh. Is he having a nightmare?
      Weeping willows are my favourite tree- could see it blowing all around.

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    4. The nightmare is his life... one he has given up all hope of changing... thank you for the kind words!

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    5. It's So good! But Despair? You go through all the stages of Man? Tsk on you!

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  7. She came naked out of the eastern desert, eyes blazing with madness and the mirrored flames of sunset, her scorpion arms raised wide as if to grab that holy molten orb and arrest its plunge below the rim of a world too enfeebled to abide the dimming of its fires, as if her livid atrocities had built one upon the next until she'd run howling through sand and sage to escape their loathsome burden, her skin streaked with dark blood but neither tears nor sweat, since the sun had burned those human elixirs from her person, etching on her knowingness the finite nature of all things, despite her quest to preserve every last drop of quantum froth, to make the earth retch itself up in ungodly seizures of fault line and mantle and plate, the scalding orange vomit of its innards gouting down coastal ridges and hissing into a grimacing sea, as she implored the heavens to be merciful and let her have it all, goddamnit, for she had strained ligament, bone, and sinew to keep it all intact, to keep the infernal ledger balanced, to honour birth while practicing each grim sacrifice as fair payment, to snatch death from the jaws of birth, to goad the saddest clown to smile, to gorge on sin's offspring, to pay homage to the tail-devouring snake of life, to open her parched cunt to the lust of stones, those discarded bones of the world, to shed her scorched and leathery skin beside a dry gulch … and for this—for all this—she was condemned?

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    1. Damn, man. This is so good. Quantum froth? Love it. I love the whole piece. The assonance and rhythm and imagery. And I can picture you chicken pecking this brilliance out. :)

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    2. Holy crap, this is awesome. I just want to read and read....

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    3. Ha, yes! Very powerful. Like a plunge into ravine. Love the lack of a full stop anywhere. Like a machine that keeps on running.

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    4. You really, really, really need to put these into a book... collection of short stories, expanding them into a novel, whatever, but awesome doesn't begin to describe....

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    5. Ooh, the goddess is PISSED. Kali to you, too.:) great imagery.

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  8. Contractions like an army of fists punched Andrea’s uterus, and she dug her fingers into Dave’s upholstery. Three assaults ago, she’d figured out that her screams did nothing to part the red sea of brake lights stretching from one shore of the Hudson to the other. When her child took his own foot off her internal accelerator, she pulled the sweaty hair from her neck asked Dave to at least open the window. “Can’t,” he said. “Police orders. Lock vehicles, keep windows closed. The guy’s armed and dangerous, babe.”

    “I’m gonna be armed and dangerous soon. Open the fucking window or I’m busting out of here. I am NOT having this baby in a goddamned car in the middle of the goddamned bridge.”

    He cracked it a half inch. “Happy?”

    “Fuck you.”

    “You’d rather get shot by some bank robber on the loose? Yeah. Awesome. Love you, too.”

    “You’d rather sit here with the windows closed while this puddle of amniotic fluid bakes in ninety-degree heat and OUR CHILD falls out of me and onto your Yosemite Sam floor mats, which I don’t think you’ve cleaned in…forever? OWWWWW!!!!”

    “How long was that?”

    “Bite me.”

    “Not a measurement of time.”

    “Not helping.”

    The whup-whup of a police chopper flew overhead. Andrea considered jumping out and flagging it down, but Dave had the goddamned childproof locks on. “I hate you.” She pressed her lips to the centimeter of space at the top of the window. “HEY! WOMAN IN LABOR HERE!”

    Her plea resulted in a general ruckus of shouting and honking, and moments later, there was a soft tap on her door. Andrea peered over. A young, scared-looking man crouched next to the car. But when their eyes met, they softened with kindness. “My sister, she had four kids,” the man whispered. “I helped deliver two.” She saw the flash of something metallic in the waistband of his jeans. “Look. This was all a big misunderstanding. If I help you…will you help me?”

    “Open the door,” she told Dave.

    “But…”

    Another contraction was building and she dug her feet into Yosemite Sam’s face. “Open. The. Door. Now.”

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    1. Fucking awesome. I so didn't see that coming. And the build-up, the emotion, the description. Yeah, fucking awesome.

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    2. Oh, this is a winner. The whole piece is so tight, but that ending is absolutely perfect. Wow.

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    3. wow...you knocked it out of the park! I didn't see the ending coming either! Talk about a twist!

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    4. And and and... what happens next? I'm biting my nails on the damn bridge!! :)

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    5. Nancy DeCilio GauthierMay 8, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      So much like it could really happen in REAL life - love it.

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  9. Poke the monkey? Monkey breaks the camera. But you still do it. Why? What blasphemy is this - this sick mockery? What drives men to twist and lie, only to end up wooden like everyone else when they die?

    I smell honeysuckle. I taste old memories, salt and crust and cigar smoke. I am small - large in my irrelevancy. I am the King of nothing. I am not even the master of my own thoughts, let alone 'all that I survey' - I am the chicken hawk, but the world isn't Foghorn Leghorn. And boy, I say boy, that sure is a shame.

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    1. Beautiful imagery... and you've hit on some archetypes that are my favorite... Foghorn was a friend of mine.

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    2. I loved Foghorn Leghorn. He rocked.
      I am the chicken hawk - made me think of 'I am the walrus' with a U-turn twist.
      Also love 'I am small - large in my irrelevancy. I am the King of nothing.'
      Yay. Cool rhythms.

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  11. Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. I hope whoever wrote those words gets royalties because I’ve heard them way too many times. Now I’m standing here in an old church, windows blown out or stolen, and I’m down to my last match. The candles were still here, a surprise. I strike the wooden match on the zipper of my fly, like my daddy used to do, and I smell the sulfur like hellfire and brimstone that were promised to me those years ago. The flare from the match expands like a camera flash and then contracts to a flame. I cup it with my hand to keep the draft from blowing it out and hold it to the wick of one candle, then another.
    The echo of my relieved sigh bounces from wall to wall to ceiling and then to my ears. I have light.
    I use one candle to light another and another. Insurance that if one flame goes out I will night spend the night in darkness, at least not the darkness my eyes fear. The darkness within, well, that’s beyond the power of any candle.
    I put my hand in my pocket, look around. It’s odd to see the stars shining freely through the empty windows. Like they were windows to another place. And there’s Venus.
    With one hand warm and one hand cold, I dare to turn to the altar, to see if it has been blasphemed in some way. The white linens are dirty, but mostly from dust given free rein within the stone edifice.
    I remember the hours I spent here as a child, staring at the crucifix, at the agony on Christ’s face, wondering why, why would he do it and why did they do it to him. I walk closer to the altar, fearing to profane this space with my presence. I realize something is wrong with the life-sized cross, with the figure that hangs from nails.
    All fear of my own desecration put aside now, I stare at the crucifix.
    It is not Christ who hangs there, but my twin, and blood drips on the altar from his wounds.
    “’Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ And for a brother. Except,” the voice intones behind me, “he didn’t really save you at all.”
    When I spin around, I see only for a moment a contorted face as the candles are extinguished. After that, only two red eyes.

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    1. I picked up a lot of doubles in this - one cold hand/one warm, the guy and his twin, the guy and his dad, the father and the Father, child and adult, light and dark... I don't know if they're conscious?
      It's atmospheric and you get the sense something bad is coming and then it does.

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    2. I'm not sure if I can say they were conscious... but I've been thinking a lot about duality... light and shadow, good and evil, ying and yang.... and trying to understand that often they are partners, not enemies. Sometimes unwilling partners, but partners nonetheless.

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    3. Yeah, me too - I love the echoes of things and their reflections. How everything has a flipside. Maybe that's why I spotted it. The yin and yang thing is really interesting. One thing can look different spun around :)

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    4. Yeah, totally agree. The yin/yang effect really works well and this is such a visual piece. I love the imagery of the match lighting.

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    5. thanks! I love candles... and I still keep kitchen matches around for lighting the wood stove... and so I'll be used to the smell of sulfur and brimstone when my time comes.

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  12. Moments

    Moments. She remembered the moments strung together by cord. Multi-faceted beads glinting in the sunlight with the urge to dazzle. But the string had frayed and the moments were neither pearls nor gems, only stones, struck from some hard, grey rock built to withstand time. And they stood it.

    Neither day nor night overcame. The moment she could have turned. The moment she would have seen. The moment it might have ended. But she didn’t see, didn’t turn and it didn’t end. The torment dragged on and she bore the stone on her back, carried it far, as far as the journey led her, to today. This day. The one marked with a black cross on the calendar, symbolising something she could not fathom at the time, could not make sense of, but there it was. It had lingered there for a month, staring back at her, challenging, stark. He’d never even noticed it, insomuch as he ever noticed anything unless it was to swear, kick or lash out.

    Absentmindedly, she licked the tip of her finger and swept it across, smudging the mark. Soon she was rubbing it with both hands as if making a hole in the paper would conceal it - the thought, the means to an end. Only when her fingers began to sting did she step back, wiping the wetness lining her kohl-streaked eyes. This was no time for tears. It was time to clean and clear, and begin again. She ripped the calendar from the wall and stepped over his lifeless body.

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    1. Wow... wonderful sybolism, and I love the darkness of this... also love the balance of day/night... and it took an unexpected turn. Well done!

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    2. Thanks. I wasn't sure where it was going, to be honest!!

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    3. Not knowing the destination always makes for a better ride. This is a really vivid piece. You have such a light touch, smooth flow, it makes the ending all the more shocking.

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    4. Thank you! When you're wriitng, you're always thinking you're being heavyhanded and not light - or I do - so it's good to know.

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  13. Come

    Come be with me
    She said
    As the breeze fell
    Upon a blackbird’s word

    Chasing shadow play
    Up the bark of a tree

    Resting my own head
    I traced the outline
    She chose to show me
    Flooding my senses
    Renewing my faith
    In this thing I used
    To know

    Come follow me
    She said
    As my reluctance fell
    Upon her guileless word

    Chasing shadows away
    She led me into the night

    Where I could only follow
    Not knowing the way
    Thus she tricked me astray
    To where the world ran dry
    Of human screams
    Stuck dumb, blind, I felt
    I heard singing

    Come follow me
    She said
    As the breeze fell
    Upon my untold word.

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    1. absolutely lovely and haunting... "stuck dumb, blind" is such an interesting play on "struck blind"... very cool.

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    2. Thank you!!! Thanks for always reading my poems! I hadn't noticed it was a play on that... hey, I'm cool :))))

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    3. I love reading your poetry. This one is beautiful.

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    4. Thank you! I think there are a handful of people in the world reading it, and I found at least 2 here :)

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  14. It’s the thinnest of skins, the molecules that hold the surface together. A concept you studied in chemistry—surface tension and how something about the weight of water pulls down like a sound wave against an eardrum. This is all that separates you from the world above. You let your arms float, feel the fatigue in them lifting now that you’re free of all those burdens. Your legs dangle into the cooler layers below and you’re a marionette with no strings, the real-live boy Pinocchio had the grace and burden to become. What would the river water have done to Pinocchio, to his delicate joins, to his tongue-and-groove construction? The world spins behind your eyelids and as the conversation above that thin skin drift together like clouds, like fog, you wonder how much longer you can stay. Maybe until the right voice breaks through. Maybe forever.

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    1. Poetry masquerading as prose... this is beautiful... especially "the grace and burden"...

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    2. I love the Pinocchio bit and the way the body is melting into the water, becoming the water. How maybe the mind blanks out like that fog and becomes separated from the body floating away... or at least that's where my mind went reading it. Enjoyed it.

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    3. Damn, I hate to ditto, but they stole my answer! :) Awesome writing.

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    4. I love your stream of consciousness writing, Laurie. It seems so effortless and reads so well. You've always a classy tale or two to share.

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  15. It was an age of innocence, he often told me.
    And now, I stand reading his letters, to and from his wife. Not yet in the grave, and I am touching the most hidden part of his soul, his feelings for her. The touching compliments, the self-deprecating protestations of unworthiness, the promises of fidelity and dreams and hope.
    But at the bottom of the box, the box he kept locked with a key around his neck, I find another love, another beloved. Those letters speak of forbidden things, of the pleasures of lust, of tracing skin with letters written with tongues, of carnal knowledge.
    I laugh at the memories of how prudish my father was, how he locked the bathroom door, how I never saw him naked. These letters, though I knew were written in his hand, are from someone I didn’t know, but had long suspected.
    The telephone rings. I answer, as father had trained me, with “Bedford Residence.”
    “This is Mr. Davis, at the funeral home, and…”
    “Yes?”
    “I wonder if you might come down here. There’s been an—” The voice sounds perplexed, folding in on itself, delivering a line that wasn’t from a script read a hundred times before. “An unexpected development,” at last he croaks out.
    “Oh, I think it was expected,” I say into the instrument that had been in my father’s home for half a century. “It may not have been public, but it certainly wasn’t unexpected.”
    “Then you know?”
    “Oh yes. My father was more of a man than I’ll ever be. Even though he was a woman. Let’s keep his secret.”

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    1. Love, love, love! Didn't see that ending coming and then I fully understand the 'self-deprecating protestations of unworthiness, the promises of dreams and hope'. I think this one is my favourite of the ones you've written today. It's like I want it to be longer and to read more, but it works amazingly as a short. But you could expand it into a short story.

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    2. Yup. Totally agree. I like it short, but I might write another piece from the undertaker's perspective. Just because I want to see the look on his face. Vickie is right, this is a dope piece.

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    3. LOL, the undertaker. The embalmer would have passed out.

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    4. Wow. Yeah. This is marvelous.

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    5. Thanks... it's good to be surprised every now and again... and I was, too!

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  17. Her name was Grace, though she had none. She walked across a room like a newborn foal, surprised at the length of his legs. Objects on shelves trembled, fearing she might come near them.
    She had none of the other sort of grace, either. There would be no blessing, no forgiveness for her.
    She was born to parents too old to know their own generation, let alone hers. She took care of them, as day by day their ability to care for her diminished. Her responsibilities grew.
    No child of eleven should be asked, “Who are you?” by a mother with dementia. No child of eleven should have to cook meals for a father silenced by grief. But she did. And now, a child of seventeen, who had never seen the world except on television, waited in a bus station for a conveyance to the magical kingdom of Manhattan.
    She wondered if anyone would notice she was missing.
    Her name was Grace. She ran away to seek it.

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    1. Oh, god. This is heartbreaking. Awesome, but totally heartbreaking. One thing, if you're going to come back to this one - the she/his in the foal analogy tripped me up. I get it, but I had to read it a few times. I'm sick, though, so I could just be extra dumb. :)

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    2. I agree - heartbreaking. Love the final two lines the most.
      The Grace/grace. How the shelves trembled. And the mother with dimentia.
      I'm thinking this is better than the previous one !

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    3. Punches me in the heart. Poor kid.

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    4. yeah, the whole baby horse thing is confusing to me, and I grew up on a farm... a colt is a young, ungelded male... a filly is a young female, and a foal is used for either sex... of course, I didn't use the 2 minutes to look it up... but I think it'd read better as "her," too. Thanks for the kind words/

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  18. She drives at high speed even the winding country road is slick and slippery from the rain which is still falling steadily. It’s not dark yet but it soon will be. The car skids as she takes a corner much too fast and slides scarily close to the edge where the ground drops away in a steep drop.
    “Shit, shit, SHIT, “ she cries out as she frantically tries to control the steering wheel and gasps for breath as the car jack-knifes across the road, stalling the engine. She waits until her breathing steadies then turns the car and continues, reducing her speed slightly she follows the road which will take her to the lake.
    As the car glides swiftly through the pounding rain her mind travels back to when it all began. She was relaxing after a hard day at work, a glass of wine in one hand, a book in the other. She had lit several candles as well as the dim reading lamp in the corner. Her eyes felt as gritty as sandpaper and after an extra- long yawn, she switched of the lamp and folded the corner of the page.
    As she moved across the room to snuff the candles, her shadows followed stretching high across the wall. She blew the first candle out, acrid smoke drifting like a lazy black cloud across the mantel. She was turning to the next one when she turned sharply to look back at shadows looming up behind her.
    Her hand flew to her mouth and she gasped, standing frozen in horror. She could see her dark profile clearly defined, though elongated. Directly next to hers was another, the shadow of a tall, slim man.
    She had been puzzled and scared in equal measure the first time she had seen him and thought too much vino had been responsible when the shadow evaporated after a few minutes of staring at it.
    He appeared again the following night and reached to caress the shadow of her hair while she stood watching the dark display of affection and although it was between the distorted shapes on the wall, she trembled when she physically felt his touch. A strange calm came over her as a wave of pleasure washed over her.

    To be continued……..

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    1. Oy, you better continue it! This is awesome. I definitely need to know more. And I love the extra-long yawn.

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    2. Yep, and this is definitely a story that would appeal to a lot of people.
      I really like this bit - 'and although it was between the distorted shapes on the wall, she trembled when she physically felt is touch'.

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  19. When

    When the music is gone
    I wait
    For the page to turn
    The rhyme to return
    A feeling of being
    For a view of something
    Other than me

    When substance fades
    I wait
    For the gushing rain
    The dew of dawn
    A sparkling star
    And the dancing moon
    Reflected to me

    When I lose myself
    I don’t wait
    I embrace the day
    The whispering woods
    An accent of time
    In this shimmering state
    Awakening me.

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    1. Ah, another beautiful poem. I don't read enough poetry. Wait, scratch that. I just need to read more of YOUR poetry. :)

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    2. Thank you!!!! I might print that out and pin it up somewhere to say 'hello' when I'm writing stumped!!
      (All my poetry books are currently free on Smashwords, including the new one with many 2minutesgo poems in, although at the moment I can't get the damn bookmark system to work on epub).
      I love TS Eliot. I find him amazing. J Alfred Prufrock has the most amazing beginning. This is only a part, but it is pure genius, and that fog part...

      Let us go then, you and I,
      When the evening is spread out against the sky
      Like a patient etherized upon a table;
      Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
      The muttering retreats
      Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
      And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
      Streets that follow like a tedious argument
      Of insidious intent
      To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
      Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
      Let us go and make our visit.

      In the room the women come and go
      Talking of Michelangelo.

      The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
      The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
      Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
      Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
      Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
      Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
      And seeing that it was a soft October night,
      Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

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    3. my favorite line (I'm always obsessed with time) is "an accent of time"... brilliant.

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  20. She was in a good mood. She'd been out shopping with her mom, a thing they did once week. it had lifted her into smiling and laughing and playing with her newly shortened hair.

    She cam into the house, unpacked and put her purchases away. She lingered over a bit of soft grey cloth. The skirt would swirl and flow beautifully. the foodstuffs would be cooked up over the next day or so, all of it being fresh. She even took a few minute to mix up some coconut water and mango with fresh raspberries, draw off a glass, and refrigerate the rest for later.

    She has smiling as she brought up her computer. Smiling as she brought up her social media. There was a message waiting for her, so she checked it, like you do.

    "Don't go there, bitch."

    Her smile stretched into a rictus of hate in one smooth jump. She reached beneath the desktop to make sure the 9 mil was handy.

    It's amazing how fast a mood could crash into the psychotic zone.

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    Replies
    1. It is amazing. And you captured it well. I could feel the switch. Love 'rictus of hate' - great piece.

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    2. oh ouch... and accurate. This was an unexpected ending... and I liked it.

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  21. My apologies for any typos. It's been one of those days.

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  22. The wool suit itched, and he cursed the decision to move. His wardrobe was not a Miami wardrobe. Nothing about him was suited for this place. His skin? Too pale. His anxiety? Too authentic. It wasn't the kind of "anxiety" people faked for doctor prescriptions. His was an anxiety that consumed him. Drugs merely changed the key - the song was always the same.

    He could picture her sitting there when she'd said it. Her hair perfect and her leather, therapist chair gleaming. "Why not move to Florida for a while? You're drowning here. You need a change of scenery..."

    He shucked the suit coat and rolled up the sleeves of his white, button down. He could see the beach, but it struck him as repugnant. Obscene. I could be back up north tomorrow, he thought. She'd never know. Hit the tanning bed before we start our sessions again. He could bring her a seashell.

    The closed eyes opened when the automatic light came on. The nurse was wearing pale pink, faded by washing.

    "Good afternoon, Ms. Jenkins. Are you ready for your meds?"

    The smile erased the dream. Obliterated it. Ms. Jenkins blinked slowly. She was ready for her meds. But there was something ... she scrunched her face up tight.

    "What about the tanning bed?"

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    Replies
    1. Intriguing is exactly the right word... how did she get here? what is she doing? where did she come from... and I love this: Drugs merely changed the key - the song was always the same.

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  23. He didn't have much, but he didn't want much. Things suffocated him. He was always losing them. Giving them away because he didn't like to carry things. Even a free pen from the bank - he felt its weight.

    The man who had taken the pen had looked perplexed. His confusion bloomed into a strange smile when he saw the $20 bill. The man had hugged him, tears in his eyes - mumbled something about medical bills. John had merely smiled, nodded. He had more money to give away.

    Words, he was keeping those. He'd already given enough away. And lost some to boot.

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    Replies
    1. Love the compactness of this... "Words, he was keeping those."

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    2. I love it, too... the pen AND the money.... you wouldn't know his phone number, would you? I'm willing to lighten his load...

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  24. The American Spring first popped off in May 2024, in the midst of the 2024 presidential campaign season. The Hillary Clinton administration spectacularly failed to achieve any meaningful change in the late 2010s, and the Republican administration that followed was just the spark that lit the fuse, then adamantly refused to stomp it out before it reached the figurative powder keg. That keg was a big ol’ sucker, full of stewing resentment over police brutality, economic inequality, racial tension, and seething contempt for authority.

    Luanne Rodgers considered it a point of pride that she was directly involved, both as an agitator and a direct actor. Decades before, a passionate, yet soft-spoken, young black woman like her would likely have been stuck as a cheerleader, supporting some loudmouth man who paid lip service to ideals she believed in, but was ultimately just another two-faced sack of shit like the ones he denounced. She identified with the underdog: overworked drudges like her mom, the hotel housekeeper who worked 60 hour weeks just to pay the rent; her dad, and other veterans like him, who could have been more productive members of society, if they had access to the mental health care they needed to deal with PTSD in more constructive ways than alcohol, cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin; she first bonded with one of her closest friends, Tim Callahan, over that shared experience. They were both orphans; well, technically, Tim’s father was alive, but he was locked up in some state pen in rural Nevada. In a token way, Tim was worse off: while Luanne was able to cobble together a family unit with her two brothers, Tim had to abandon his kid brother to the vicissitudes of state foster care, and make his own way, or face the same fate himself.

    The sultry, smoggy weather that blanketed most of the United States reflected the times: folks had trouble sleeping, trouble breathing, they were literally stifled by the climate of oppression. The straw that broke the camel’s back was power rationing in big cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Houston, and Atlanta. With no air conditioning, the people took to the streets, and law enforcement had their hands full trying to maintain order.

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    1. Great descriptions... I was sweating by the end of it...

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    2. Good enough to make me not like your vision of the future at all!

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  25. Amy never loved her daddy.

    Momma was always the one she ran to; her size was never an issue. Instead of towering over her and smelling of 'bacco, she was always her warm protector; a softness and a calming voice whenever she needed her, smelling like a meadow and smiling like sunshine and toothpaste all mixed together.

    Oh, Momma. How she missed you.

    Daddy was the one who took care of her though. At least, when Momma went to Jesus, he did. Babygirl tried her best to love him but... pfftt. Night after night after night crying into her pillow so he wouldn't hear her, knowing he'd send her away if he knew.

    Although, she supposed he tried, a little.

    But a young girl never forgets.

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    Replies
    1. Love this. And "...smelling like a meadow and smiling like sunshine and toothpaste..."

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    2. I love this piece, too. The bookend statements are so powerful. I love that. The first and last line tell the whole story. Really neat structure and strong writing, Mark.

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    3. yep, compact and complete, and fine writing... well done!

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  26. The hostess who seats him looks like a girl he’d known a long time ago. He doesn’t know why that should matter; the girl left him for one of his army buddies, and the perils of association dictated that he should hate her or at least resent her a little, but that isn’t fair. She has a nice smile and a cute lisp, so why should he dump all his problems and sour old memories on her? At least he isn’t as bad off as some of his friends, misremembering and blurring the lines. Like Artie and Doug, they can’t get history straight sometimes, taking one from column a and one from column b mixed with an episode of the Rockford Files they’d seen twenty-seven times a million years ago. When he comes to visit, who the hell knows, he could be anyone to them: the Flatbush Avenue butcher who’d given him a bum deal on porterhouse, the three-card monty hustler on the corner, the best man at his wedding, the guy who’d saved his life. Maybe he should stop visiting. Enough he can’t remember some of his own past; he doesn’t need someone else forgetting who he used to be. The hostess returns with a smile and asks if he’d like anything before the server comes by. “Sit with me, honey,” he says. “I want to tell you a story.”

    Her smile breaks his heart; his question wasn’t fair, either, because she has a job to do and they probably wouldn’t like it if she sat down to chat with the customers. “Sorry,” she says, “but if you’d like, I’ll buy you a drink. And maybe you’d like to meet my grandmother?”

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I don't know whether the last line is spoken is kindness or sarcasm and I MUST KNOW!!! ;) Great piece, Boris. My heart hurts in the right way.

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    2. :D Thank you. Ack, I need to make that clearer. It's in kindness.

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    3. Aw, as sweet as apple pie... and I figured it was kindness, too, because I knew the writer... but yes, a tiny bit clearer...

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  27. “Okay, Dad,” Rebecca Swann said to Ray Bentley as she showed him old photographs, this one her late mother and Ray's wife of fifty years, “who’s this woman?”

    “I dunno, I can’t make it out and I don’t remember anyway,” Ray said with a toss of his hand, tuning toward the wall of the nursing home’s common room.

    “It’s Mom, Dad, don’t you remember?” Rebecca said and put the photo back into the pile of Ray’s black and white forgotten memories.

    Rebecca saw a small group enter the common room, touring the facility as a potential home for the elderly woman toddling along with her walker, when she heard her father take two deep sniffs, saw him turn, and watched him beam as he blurted out, “Helen?”

    The elderly woman brought her disheartened gaze up from the floor and saw not an 78-year-old man seated at the table in front of her, but rather the 19-year-old who had given her the brand of perfume she wore for the past forty-eight years, the one called Unforgettable. She smiled a teary smile, broke away from her children, crying “Ray!”

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    Replies
    1. Oh, jeez. The pieces this week are going to make me cry. Great snapshot moment. Joe, you sneak the most beautiful phrasings into all your pieces, example: "black and white forgotten memories" :)

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    2. This is gorgeous and beautiful and makes me smile....

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  28. A Lil sumpin for yo Mama

    Homeboy runnin through the neon rain,
    in a garbage bag poncho
    Disdain for the traffic that’s in his way
    Armful of flowers for Mother’s Day

    Box truck stuck and flashers blinkin, wipers sigh regular across the glass
    MPG is the same at idle and fuel efficiency still burns gas. Kids on the school bus
    Stare down at us like aliens at our lower form of life.

    The guy in the Fusion picking his nose, the chick in the Infinity weaving toward the light.

    A three mile back up suddenly gone as the drivers speed by and call him an ass
    Traffic is bad this Mother’s Day Weekend the announcer hollers from the radio, Take it easy and take it slow.
    You gotta make another stop before you get home. You’re fresh out of cat food and few things more

    There’s a little kid yelling from the prison seat
    Strapped in the back of a black caravan. Beagle hangin out the window of somebody’s Lotus and licking the raindrops. And the rest of us doing the best they can.

    You’re thinking about having dirty martini as the blonde with extensions comes into view. Tight lipped and made up she remembers the card, and sets it in back with the wandering jew.

    A car pulls out, and one comes in. Wynonna is wailing how love is alive.
    The heartbeat keeps playing, the bass line is saying we share the same feeling , pop, country or jive.
    I am a mother and I am a child
    I know that again in this translucent rain
    I got my own flowers, I got my own child
    But I don’t know what to offer the kind of a friend
    Who taught me to notice, we’re all the same.

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    Replies
    1. This is awesome, T. I love the parade of characters. The prison seat. I love it all.

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  29. The old man sits in the darkest corner, claw-handed from years of highball holding. He does not speak. He barely moves, hand to glass to mouth and back, gentle, metronomic. This is not the man's first drink. Of the day, the year, the lifetime ... eons. The man is not even the man; he is every man.

    And sometimes the man gets drunk. Very rarely. But occasionally. And he jumps, spilling peanut bowls and laughing, yelling: Willy Loman?! I'm Willy High, man! Drinks are on me!

    He laughs a desperate laugh that threatens to jump the rails to lunacy.

    The bartender never pours the drinks because the man will never pay.

    The regulars nod their thanks, regardless. Whether they get the joke or not.

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  30. We’re sorry. We were unable to process your request. Our servers are too full right now. So get a life and try to contact us again later. Seriously. We mean that. But we’re not really sorry. It’s something our lawyers recommend that we say. Besides, words like “sorry” are free and make us look good. But if you’d prefer something clever, we can get our wicked busy IT people to stop trying to keep the hackers from getting your social security numbers and your daughter’s virginity and reassign them to the task of making your 404 codes more clever. Tailor them for your amusement. We’re sorry. We’re out of arcane insults at the moment, so please go back to watching reruns of Firefly and weeping softly into your tea towels while we try to fix the problem that our supervisors won’t give us enough money or manpower to correct the way it really should be to keep this from happening again. Have an awesome day and kiss your mother for us. Like we did last night.

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    Replies
    1. LOL! I LOVE this... now I'm going to go watch Firefly again

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  31. She was like a cast-off circus elephant, wandering, confused - unable to care for herself. She was unused to gentle touch and flinched at the thought of it. Abuse, she could handle.

    You thought you were going to save her? You thought you could swoop in, cape doing that fluttery thing and boom-voice your love in a way that she could embrace. That's 'cause you're a dumb piece of shit. And you can call it idealism all you want. You're a dumb piece of shit. She knows it. You're too nice, and it makes her hate you.

    See, the damage was done long ago, and it can't be undone. Not by you, probably not by anyone.

    There are places they take old elephants. Quiet sanctuaries where they can learn to breathe again. Places where their wounds can heal. Places where earnest college hippy trust fund kids will rub their bellies and croon.

    They don't have places like that for people.

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  32. When Stereotypes Come to Life

    Talking with a black nieghbor, a total stranger in the light conversation he asks, "can you fry chicken"? He looks at me white as snow, (I'm German Irish decent), "No you can't fry chicken."
    I think, anyone can fry chicken,,,He tells me "black women just don't keep the house clean." Raising eyebrows with me, for sure, (don't say THAT to their face, and so on.)

    Later I'm alone observing a neighbor a single black woman. She must have carried six lawn & leaf sized bags out of her second floor apartment, straight to the dumpster. I was confused to say the least.
    I mistakenly answered an ad, looking at personals, I'm witty, "where you been hiding ?" I say, noticing there are two different name connected with this picture.

    I read the following day it's posted "watch out for this man he says he's newly divorced, the pictures he has are not of him and he's wanted for identity theft. He will send you lewd and disgusting pictures. Needless to say I didn't get any.

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